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Is selling on ebay really that bad?

 
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Old April 13th, 2009 Apr 13, 2009 12:12:08 PM -   #1 (permalink)
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Default Is selling on ebay really that bad?

Why do a lot of people on here not like to sell on ebay? I was considering it myself, I do realise that there fees are expensive but surely the fact that millions of people are on ebay must make up for the downside of the fees. Unless I am missing the bigger picture, what are your views?
 
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Old April 13th, 2009 Apr 13, 2009 12:36:24 PM -   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is selling on ebay really that bad?

The reality is that eBay fees are crippling, people will copy and rip off your designs on there and buyers will leave often leave negative feedback for so sensible reasons.

The only people that profit on eBay are eBay themselves. Whether your items sell or not, they still make money.

There are better places than eBay to lose your profits.
 
Old April 13th, 2009 Apr 13, 2009 3:23:45 PM -   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is selling on ebay really that bad?

I don't think it is worth it. As mentioned earlier, Ebay is the only company that will be profiting.

I would suggest that you focus more on marketing your product and creating a demand for it.

Either way, best wishes.
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Old April 13th, 2009 Apr 13, 2009 8:45:12 PM -   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is selling on ebay really that bad?

I'll use myself as an example:
I started selling on ebay a few years ago. I had a very small targeted market of customers (bagpipers). I made great designs and sold a lot of shirts for about 2 years. I also ran auctions for one off custom t-shirts.
Well the first thing I ran into was that after one year my designs where being copied by 2 other ebay sellers (not exact but close). Then I started to get way to many customrs looking for something for nothing (claiming they never recived there product, claiming the shirt has stains, holes, etc.) you can not fight it for fear of bad feedback, and it's silly to ask for the shirt back so next thing you know your sending them another shirt. You lose the cost of the shirt and the shipping.
On ebay the customer really calls the shots and thats not a good thing for small sellers.
The final straw was seeing all of my designs on cafepress, after that I just gave up, my sales already dropped off enough that I was losing money keeping the store open.
I agree the only people making money are ebay, and the smart sellers who use ebay as a springboard for there websites.
 
Old April 13th, 2009 Apr 13, 2009 9:49:12 PM -   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is selling on ebay really that bad?

Try to use Ebay as advertising for your website. Ebay doesn't like this but it can be done. I agree with Len, it's hard to get decent money on Ebay for anything these days. It's like you're slaving for very little reward. I'm sure we could all sell lots of tshirts for $6 or $8 each but why bother working for nothing?

I just sold a brand new item on Ebay, a fairly popular item in the middle of the appropriate season, that should normally go for $12 or $15. It sold for $1.75. Buyers just don't want to pay anything.

Ebay is like the world's biggest flea market. Might as well go to your local flea market.
 
Old April 14th, 2009 Apr 14, 2009 3:53:32 AM -   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is selling on ebay really that bad?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Susie
Try to use Ebay as advertising for your website. Ebay doesn't like this but it can be done.
How you can get your website advertised on ebay without them getting upset about it.
 
Old April 14th, 2009 Apr 14, 2009 4:01:23 AM -   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is selling on ebay really that bad?

Honestly I think anything you try to sell your t-shirts is worth it. You can try with a few products and see how it goes, sure they charge some money to place your ad, but there are ways you can lowered those fees. I bought a template that accepts as many pictures as you want, so when I used it to place my tees I didn't pay to place any extra pictures, I only paid for the gallery picture and I posted it for 7 days so I wouldn't pay to have it extra days either. I mean I think it's worth a try, why not? It's not THAT expensive and you could send some people to your site, which can be pretty good. My experience was good so I would go ahead and try and if you don't like it at least you know you tried.
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Old April 15th, 2009 Apr 15, 2009 2:51:55 AM -   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is selling on ebay really that bad?

I had a ebay shop for years but mostly to advertise my own shop rather than sell designs as they were being copied

Also there is people on there that sell tee's for £6 with full front design... they also promote the fact that they will "recreate" designs from other sellers at request so after complaining about them and nothing being done I closed my shop and have not returned at all
 
Old April 15th, 2009 Apr 15, 2009 4:40:45 AM -   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is selling on ebay really that bad?

I also never understood how these people sell for so little, It's as if they have nothing better to do. If they have the idea they can make it up on volume they are crazy. I would see people selling heat applied vinyl shirts for insanely cheap prices, obviously not taking there cost or time in consideration.
And lets not mention the people with the DTG printers, I mean come on how many shirts do you have to sell to make up that $15,000.
 
Old April 15th, 2009 Apr 15, 2009 5:43:00 AM -   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is selling on ebay really that bad?

Some people selling on Ebay are not selling at a profit. Sometimes, people think because they made a sale, they did make a profit, when in reality, it cost them money.

I had a friend do this. She didn't track all of her costs, and assumed a sale was a good thing. I knew from my own numbers that sometimes, her transactions were costing her, and she was actually selling at a loss.

I learned, from watching my friend, to say, "You can sell on Ebay, but it might cost you money to ship that item to your customer."


I agree with Karen. There are ways to lower cost that can be learned as time goes on. For instance, an easy one is to watch the listing price vs. cost per listing (auctions). I never understood why seller's list item's for $1.00 when .99 is so much cheaper costwise. Another way to save is to use a service like Auctiva. Auctiva will allow many pictures for the price of one. There are a few services like Auctiva out there, some are free, some have a nominal fee. All of them are trying to offer some listing features/benefits that Ebay doesn't, so they are worth checking out.

Ebay changes the rules and varies how business is done from time to time, so always staying on top of the latest changes can help save money when it comes to seller costs. Ebay is thickly layered, so taking the time to study the cost factors, and the various ways Ebay allows listings, is important to find out what is really the best way for you.

At the time that I was considering a store, store listings did not return in the search unless there were less than 3 listings for that item, or the buyer actually clicked a box to included store results with the auction listings. I knew this would not work for me. This was not known among my friends who sold on Ebay. In order to get exposure, they had to do store listings as well as some auctions to show up in the search and get folks in the stores. It's things like this that can help someone succeed easier on Ebay, and all of that info is in the fine print.

Overall, I find Ebay to be very time consuming for very little return. Many hours, little profit.
Add the time for detailed records in to time to write the listings, take photos, the customer emails, feedback, shipping, and Ebay can be a real time hog for little return.

In this economy, I don't think Ebay is a great avenue. Ebay is better when money is cheap, and buyers are willing to repeatedly and quickly part with their money. Ebay will always get their fees, whether you make a sale or not, so in lean times, Ebay can become more expensive than ever to try to transact business on.

Of course, like mentioned, designs being stolen is a hassle. It's a good idea to have the next best design ready, because designs have a limited time to be new, original, and the one wanted. Once it hits, inevitably some other seller in your niche will take it for profit, and yes, that's that. Then your buyers are split between you and them, and sales drop. Until you unveil your next one. Then the race is on again.

To only real way to know is to try it out. If you find it profitable, that is great, if not, then you really know why Ebay would not be a good avenue for you personally.

Ebay is different for everyone, to some degree, because I think some of the success depends on your business and marketing skills. Personally, I'd rather have a website and promote that. But that's just my own view.

Good luck to you, no matter what you decide to do. =)
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Old April 15th, 2009 Apr 15, 2009 7:25:40 AM -   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is selling on ebay really that bad?

Kelly you summed up the state of eBay eloquently. I agree 100% with everything you said. Great post!
 
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Old April 15th, 2009 Apr 15, 2009 8:21:19 AM -   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is selling on ebay really that bad?

Surely the answer also lies in the market you are selling to. I'd imagine with novelty tees that there is far too much competition and the profit margins vs fees make it prohibitive. But there are people who undoubtedly profit from it. There is a seller making (or rather printing) fashion tees on ebay.co.uk and he definitely makes a tidy profit. He must do because he has only about 3 negative feedbacks, which I checked. The complaint was that he was retagging Hanes vests that you can buy at £3 and reselling them with his own brand name in at £9.99. The tees he sells with 1,2 and 3 colour prints go for £25-45 so he will be in good profit even with ebay fees. But again, these are fashion tees. Not jokes or slogan tees, so the market is willing to pay more for it.
He doesn't actually have his own website though, which I find quite crazy, as I think ebay is probably more useful to use as a marketing tool as it is a marketplace. Either by paying the fee to link to your homepage or, more sneakily but free, tagging your pics with your site or tagging a youtube vid with it and embedding that into your ad. Perhaps a short 12 second cat walk clip if you're promoting tees or clothing.
 
Old April 15th, 2009 Apr 15, 2009 9:36:27 AM -   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is selling on ebay really that bad?

My market was very targeted (bagpipers, highland drummers) and within one year competition came in.
There are many sellers that scour eBay looking for something hot, when they find it they bomb the category. My average price was $18.00 (US) but my competition was selling for $6-$8. (with huge shipping and handling fees of course, but that another story)
 
Old April 15th, 2009 Apr 15, 2009 12:00:37 PM -   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is selling on ebay really that bad?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimJams
Surely the answer also lies in the market you are selling to. I'd imagine with novelty tees that there is far too much competition and the profit margins vs fees make it prohibitive. But there are people who undoubtedly profit from it. There is a seller making (or rather printing) fashion tees on ebay.co.uk and he definitely makes a tidy profit. He must do because he has only about 3 negative feedbacks, which I checked. The complaint was that he was retagging Hanes vests that you can buy at £3 and reselling them with his own brand name in at £9.99. The tees he sells with 1,2 and 3 colour prints go for £25-45 so he will be in good profit even with ebay fees. But again, these are fashion tees. Not jokes or slogan tees, so the market is willing to pay more for it.
He doesn't actually have his own website though, which I find quite crazy, as I think ebay is probably more useful to use as a marketing tool as it is a marketplace. Either by paying the fee to link to your homepage or, more sneakily but free, tagging your pics with your site or tagging a youtube vid with it and embedding that into your ad. Perhaps a short 12 second cat walk clip if you're promoting tees or clothing.
I know the seller you are talking about, like you said he seem to be doing quite well considering the prices of his tees.

Thanks everyone for your replies, keep them coming. As someone mentioned before you can get away with advertising your website on ebay via a couple of loopholes. Anyone any ideas?
 
Old April 15th, 2009 Apr 15, 2009 2:55:24 PM -   #15 (permalink)
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Talking Re: Is selling on ebay really that bad?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shorty
How you can get your website advertised on ebay without them getting upset about it.
I sometimes use Ebay to advertise my website. I put a shirt on at 99p with 99p p+p but in the discription i put my web site name, not the full url. for example if your website was called www.customtees..com then the product title would be " cheap custom t shirt from customtees"
Then you put a common popular t shirt on for 10 days. hopefully no one will buy it. Then on the product pic you have your web address as a watermark along with a subtle ad. for instance www.customtees..com, custom t shirt printing .

The idea behind this is that along with the hits you get on ebay, google and yahoo regularly trawl ebay so anyone putting the words custom t shirt customtees into a search engine will get the link to your ebay item and then hopefully on to your website.

This is a sneaky and cheap way to get more hits on search engines.

Another way to get loads of ebay hits is to do an ipod t shirt for example and then list it at 99p but put it in the electronics category. anyone searching for ipods will see it and if your gallery pic is clever, will click on the description.
Just a couple of ways to get something worthwhile out of ebay. hope that helps some of you

apologies to the owner of customtees.com, didnt realise you existed when i wrote this.
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Last edited by Market-Tee; April 15th, 2009 at 02:57 PM.. Reason: ooppss
 






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